Day 2

David Lake, 5:24pm, September 17, 2011

We were up today at 6:30am. Both of us experienced that kind of thermarest sleep where you toss and turn, hazing in and out of sleep after getting a good run of the deep stuff. But that’s okay. It’s part of the challenge. And we got to bed early enough last night.

Breakfast of oatmeal sprinkled with granola and a cup of coffee had us on the water for 8:30am. I popped some AAs into the GPS and it hummed along today. I must say it’s the device of my dreams thusfar. And I’m sure once I figure out the battery issue it will be ideal. But more on that later.

We made our way up through the rest of Carlyle, through Johnnie Lake to portage the 830 into Clearsilver Lake. The trail is flat. And busy. We ran into one party that had more dogs than humans. Turns out they were from Dog Paddling Adventures, an adventure company for people who like to trip with their dogs. “It just wouldn’t be a trip without a dog,” one of the (human) trippers explained to me.

We got to David Lake despite a bit of confusion at the end of the portage between Clearsilver and David. On my (admittedly) old route map, there’s a second, 200m portage marked between some sort of puddle and David Lake. Garmin’s topo thinks the puddle is a marsh. The new route map I bought on my way out indicates the same thing.

But I swear to you there is no second portage. I turned us right when I should have gone left and landed us at a slightly bigger puddle. At this point I had two happy discoveries: one the Garmin Montana 650 can track you going through the woods, and two, because the Montana rotates the map to face the way you’re facing, it was pretty clear (a) I went the wrong way and (b) which way I needed to go.

So we might have lost ten minutes.

We were on David Lake just before noon. In retrospect, if you just want to get to a place where you can get at Silver Peak, consider staying on Clearsilver. It's not a nice big lake like David, but the site looks decent, and the trail to Silver Peak is much shorter.

We saw one couple coming in (likely from Bell Lake) and leaving their canoe at the Clearsilver-David portage to follow the trail up to the peak from there.

However, our itinerary had us on Killarney Lake the next night, and we wanted to see some more of the park so on we went.

The first three sites on David’s south shore were already occupied, so we paddled on to number 105. The site I stayed on with my friends in 2001 is now off limits, in recuperation mode. A wise move. It was pretty overused way back then.

Insofaras we’re headed up to David’s north end tomorrow, that’s not a bad thing. Plus it’s a bit more secluded.

At the site, we set up tent, had lunch, then hung the food and set off in the canoe for the portage to Boundary Lake, which intersects the hiking trail to Silver Peak.

We encountered lots of people on the trail. One family with three kids under twelve. Some folks in their sixties, some in their twenties and thirties. I’m guessing some were coming in from the lodge on Bell Lake, though there were also a lot of canoes parked at the Boundary portage. But some folks were not dressed for backcountry camping: jeans, cotton t-shirts, cologne, immaculate hair and not a speck of dirt on them.

All of them assured us that it was an easier hike coming down. There were a lot of people on the peak - more than when I’d been there with Irene in the summer of 2003. At one point Martin asked “Is there a tour bus somewhere in a parking lot that we can’t see?”

It’s so worth the climb and the crowds though. This was my third time and I was still in awe. The day was indeed so clear you could see all the way to Sudbury and out onto Georgian Bay. Plus with the GPS I could point out all the lakes.

Also the GPS suggested to me that I wasn’t actually standing on the highest point, when I thought I was. After the first scrambly bit, once you get out into the open, the trail continues right, but I had - both previous times - gone left, seeing a large, white promonitory that I took for the high point. Nope. The real peak is a little further on, with a little more scrambling required.

We stayed for half an hour or so, then headed down. We were back on David Lake by about 4:45. I could have stayed longer, but the wind blew a chill across the peak and we didn’t want to cook or clean up in the dark.

Stats on hike to Silver peak

Total distance, there and back:
12.1 km
Total time:
4 hours, 30 minutes
Average speed:

We tried the Merlot this time. Martin suggested it was sweeter than the Cab-Sauv and I have to agree.

After dahl, rice and wraps for dinner we sat around another well built fire. Someone had dismantled the typical kitchen “furniture” at this site but we found the notched, flattened log and propped it up with some rocks. It does make cooking a lot easier.

And sitting around sipping scotch. That’s easier too. So much so that I have yet to deploy the thermarest chairs. I think next time I’ll leave them at home.'

See? Georgian Bay: Atop Silver Peak

See? Georgian Bay

Sunrise, David Lake: Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. But we actually had really good weather that day.

Sunrise, David Lake

Cairn: En route to Silver Peak. They seem to be much less random than years previous. Most seem to be there to mark the trail where there's nowhere to put a blue disc.